Telling: Southwest Florida

Telling:  Southwest Florida

What is it like to come home from war, move from a life of military discipline, search for a new purpose — and try to re-enter a civilian world that doesn’t understand your unique experiences?  Naples area veterans are answering those questions and more as they tell their personal stories of life and the military on stage this April and May.

Since 2008, the Telling Project has put veterans and military family members on stage in twenty states, raising awareness of military experiences on a person-to-person, community level.  By participating in The Telling Project, participating veterans are helping bridge a communication gap with an American society in which less than 1 percent has served in uniform over the past dozen years of war.

Telling was a life changing experience. It gave me the strength and courage to share my story and a platform to heal. Telling Project veteran participant

Reserve your seat

Performance Schedule:

Wang Opera Center
2408 Linwood Ave, Naples
Get Directions.

  • April 29 at 7pm
  • April 30 at 4pm

Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S, Fort Myers
Get Directions.

  • May 4 at 7pm
This program contains adult language and themes of war and combat violence. Audience discretion is advised.


Jason Calabrese

After the 9/11 attacks, Jason joined the United States Army (2002-2005) and deployed with the 1st Infantry Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II. Jason also joined the Florida National Guard Reserves in 2009 where he’s completed numerous annual trainings and served on State active duty in support of Hurricane Mathew disaster relief. Jason lives with his wife and five children and is currently an English professor at Florida South Western State College. Learn more about Jason and read a poem he wrote about his military experience, here.

Joseph Cofield

After high school, and during the Cold War, Joseph served 21 years in the United States Army (1976-1997). Joseph served fourteen of those years in Europe (mostly Germany) proudly working within the Signal Corps. Chaplain Assistance was his secondary military occupational specialty. After retiring from the military Joseph became an educator and is now running the Constitution Project, Inc., with the goal to get the U.S. Constitution into the hands of every 5th grade student in Florida. Joseph currently lives with his wife in Naples.

Tim Durham

Tim served seven years in the Army (1976-1983) as a reconnaissance scout with the 5th Infantry Division and 101st Airborne Division. After 9/11 and a fifteen year separation from the military, Tim joined the Florida National Guard and was deployed to Iraq in 2005 with the 651st Military Police Company. Tim was awarded the Bronze Star for his meritorious service as a squad leader in a platoon charged with transporting Iraqi detainees. Tim lives with his wife and daughter in Bonita Springs and currently works as an executive manager with the Collier County government. He has a law degree from FSU College of Law. Learn more about Tim and watch part of his interview, here.

Frank Gonzalez

Frank’s military career began with the U.S. Marine Corps in 1970. His Military Occupational Specialty was Field Communications and was assigned with the grunts, 81mm mortars, and with the infantry as a liaison to the weapons section. After he left the Corps, he stayed with the reserves and started a career in law enforcement in New York. Frank enlisted in the U.S. Army reserves after 9/11 and joined the 310th Military Police Battalion with multiple deployments. He retired in 2008, relocated to Florida, and earned an A.S. in Criminal Justice. Frank is currently working on a B.A. in Management at Hodges University. Despite leaving the military, the issues associated with Iraqi Freedom are always with him.

Peter Slota

Peter served three years in the Army (1968-1971) and went to Vietnam as a medic with the surgery unit at the 93rd Evacuation Hospital at Long Binh and the 45th medical evacuation unit (helicopter). Peter has worked a number of careers since his military service while also becoming heavily involved in the VA and veteran support groups. Originally from a small town in Massachusetts, Peter met his wife while in the Army at Ft. Devens and currently lives in Bonita Springs. They have two grown children.


Jonathan Wei

Jonathan Wei, the founder and director of The Telling Project, is an award-winning author, playwright, director and producer. For fifteen years, Wei has produced work addressing war and its implications: published in The Village Voice, Iowa Review, Glimmer Train and others; produced at Lincoln Center, The Library of Congress, The Guthrie Theater and others; and featured by CNN, MSNBC, The Associated Press, PBS, NPR and others. Since 2007, as Executive Director of The Telling Project, Jonathan has devoted his energies largely to interviewing, transcribing and shaping the stories of American military veterans and military family members into personal narratives.

Max Rayneard

Max Rayneard is co-creator of the Telling Project process and the award-winning writer and director of dozens of Telling Project productions across the United States. His work has been staged at such venues as the Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress (2012), The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis (2013, 2015, 2016) including She Went to War (2017), and The Alley Theatre (2016), where Telling: Houston was awarded a Congressional Commendation. Published in peer-reviewed and creative journals, he is a South African Fulbright scholar and holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Oregon. He is the writer of three productions in Florida (Pensacola, Orlando, Gainesville). Telling: Southwest Florida is the first Florida production he will direct.

Telling: Southwest Florida is generously sponsored by:


Del and Theresa Ackerman
John  and Rebecca Allen

Nick  Chabraja
Community Foundation of Collier County

Mr. and Mrs. David C. Farrell
David  Fogg
Joseph G. Fogg III and Leslie K.S. Fogg
Danyele & Jean-Pierre Garnier
Steve  Foss and Leslie Lascheid
Lavern  Gaynor
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas R. Grady
Alan  Horton
John D. Picotte Family Foundation
T.J. Kukk
Mr. and Mrs. S.K. Materne
David  Mullins
Neapolitan Enterprises
Ambassador Clark T. Randt Jr.
Kathleen  Rooney
Edward  Rorer
Mr. & Mrs. James  Schoonmaker, II
Joseph  Semrod
Joseph  Tompkins
Donald  Tuttle, III
Thomas  Wheeler